News

ODOT Says Marquam Bridge Is Open, Safe

OPB | April 24, 2013 10:49 a.m. | Updated: April 25, 2013 4:29 p.m. | Portland

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Oregon’s Department of Transportation says the Marquam Bridge has been thoroughly examined after Tuesday’s accident, and is safe to use.

A semi carrying a 75,000 pound beam for a light rail project rolled over Tuesday, closing the road for fourteen hours. A passenger car was crushed and caught fire in the course of the accident.

In a news release issued late Wednesday morning, Portland Police said the drivers were identified as 67-year-old James Pennington and 28-year-old Mark Cole. Police said the pair have cooperated with authorities.

The driver of the car was identified as 23-year-old Dana Kay Buice. She was taken to Legacy Emanuel and had non-life threatening injuries after being removed from her car before the fire broke out.

ODOT’s Don Hamilton says the beam had to be completely removed before crews could determine the bridge is sound.

“We found two very small points of damage, one was to the road deck itself where the car fire caused damage to the deck. The other was some minor damage to a bridge joint. But these are not significant and these will be scheduled for repairs at some point in the near future.”

While the accident was disruptive, Hamilton notes permitted overweight loads travel up and down I-5 hundreds of times a day.

Hamilton says the contractor hauling the load held a legal permit for the job, and was fully insured.

The cost of the accident will take several weeks to determine. And police must complete their investigation of what caused the truck to tip.

Police say the investigation is continuing, but alcohol apparently played no role in the crash.

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